Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom/Chapter 6

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Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom/Table of Contents

Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom
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Information Literacy and Technology Tools

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There are many tools that are available for students to use for information literacy. The tools help students find information, analyze and understand the information, and then use the information. The three main tools available for student use for information literacy are:

  • the internet
  • collaboration tools
  • sharing tools

The Internet

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The new web 2.0 allows students to find information much more easily than before. Students can use various search engines to help them find information much more easily than before. There are many different search engines. There are also websites that review each search engine, such as search engine watch. Students can go to a website like search engine watch and find a search engine that will be most helpful to their research. There are also search engines built specifically for students, such as Yahoo Kids.

Collaboration Tools

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The collaboration tools that are available allow students to work together outside of their classroom. The most widely used collaboration tools in classrooms are wikis and blogs.

  • Blogs are a way of writing ones thoughts and ideas about topics that may be shared with many people. A student’s collaborating partners may reply and give them feedback or their opinions on the subject. What a great way to keep an electronic journal! Students can also gain other thoughts on events or other things that may have happened. There are many blog sites for students to choose from. Many school systems are using their own applications to allow students to express themselves in a smaller area. Angel and Blackboard are examples of applications schools are utilizing.

  • Wikis allow for similar collaboration that will permit several people to write and adjust the writing on the same posting without sending a reply. Wikipedia is probably the best example of a wiki. There are numerous other sites that allow for this tool to be utilized.

  • Instant Messaging(IM) allows for communication in real time and can garner a response in seconds. Most ISps allow for some sort of instant messaging. AOL instant messenger is an example of IM.

  • Internet Telephony is also being introduced. Voice over Internet Protocol (VolP) allows conversations over the internet. Skype is probably the most common telephony. Voip is another example of internet telephony.

  • Twitteris another tool that students can use to collaborate with other students. Students can log into their Twitter account and in 140 characters or less, post updates or websites for others to view.
    View the Inquiry Learning Video Twitter video tutorial to learn more
  • Open Source Software is another tool that schools can use to create more collaboration possibilities. These are applications where the user can download the entire program free of charge. In general, the definition provides for your freedom to use, modify and redistribute the software in any way you wish. There are no licensing fees to pay, and any costs associated with open source software typically are for staff training or specialized support from a third-party company for implementation assistance (Hirsch, 2009, para.6).

Sharing Tools

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There are also sharing tools that allow students to share websites, movies, and photos. Students can use social bookmarking sites (such as delicious) and share their favorite websites with their friends. More importantly, when students use these social bookmarking sites, they can log onto any computer and access their favorite websites. There are also websites which allow students to upload their movies or photos to share with classmates or the public. These sharing websites allow students to showcase their talents and collaborate with others.


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If you do not have a blog, watch the video Blogs in Plain English, about how to create a blog and then bot to to create a blog now! If you already have a blog, choose one tool described here and reflect on how you can use this tool in your classroom.

Resources for Students

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Resources for Teachers

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EDUCAUSE: Learning Initiative. (2005) 7 things you should know about blogs:

Hirsch, J. (2009, May). Opening Up Options for School Software. School Administrator, 66(5), 7-7. Retrieved September 18, 2009, from Education Research Complete database.

Schrum, L. & Solomon, G. (2007). Web 2.0 new tools, new schools. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Warlick, D. (2004). Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century. Worthington, OH: Linworth Publishing.